View Full Version : help in choosing 135mm lens
I am at a crossroad in deciding what brand of 135mm f5.6 lens to purchase (contemplating between Fujinon, Nikon and Rodenstock). Would appreciate if anybody can share their personal experiences. I have a 90mm f9.0, but I find it very difficult to use hence I want to replace it with the 135mm. If this has been discussed in a previous archive, I apologise, can anybody point me to this. Thanks
Mo: If you buy the current offerings from any of the major manufacturers you will end up with a fine lens. (Don't know why you are not interested in the Schneider line.) What is it you find difficult to use about your current lens? (And what is it?) Too dim to focus? You don't like working with a lens that wide?
Michael S. Briggs
Based on the manufacturer's specs, the current offerings of 135 mm lenses fall into two groups. The Nikkor-W, Apo-Sironar-N and the recent Apo-Symmar have about 72 degrees / 200 mm diameter of coverage. The Fuji-CMW and Apo-Sironar-S have about 75 degrees / 210 mm of coverage. (I have rounded figures slightly to group the lenses). For some photographers the extra increment of coverage will be worth the extra cost.
Probably Mo didn't list Schneider as a current maker of a 135 mm lens because Schneider's current Apo-Symmar-L line doesn't include this focal length.
Given that the lenses you mention are all of superb quality, you might want to give some attention to secondary factors: weight, size, filter size, and price.
These articles may be of interest to you:
Future Classics (http://www.thalmann.com/largeformat/future.htm" target="_blank)
Large Format Lens Field Kits (http://www.hevanet.com/cperez/kit.html" target="_blank)
Lightweight Lenses (http://www.thalmann.com/largeformat/lightwei.htm" target="_blank)
I have & use the Sironar-S 135. It is very small and lightweight, with a generous image circle for this focal length. It is the sharpest lens I have. Filter size is 49mm, which means cheap filters. I'm moving to 8x10 & it doesn't cover so I'm selling it. I will miss this fine lens.
There's quite a difference between 90mm and 135mm. The implication of your message is that you don't like the 90mm because of the difficulty of focusing an F9 lens. The F5.6 maximum aperture of the 135s you mention and the longer focal length will certainly help with that but the photographs you'll make will be very different than the ones you're making with your 90mm lens.
Apart from that, I've owned both the 135mm Nikon W and the 135mm Sironar S. I didn't see any obvious difference in the photographs (black and white, 16x20 largest print size but more often 11x14) I produced with either. Unless you really need the slightly larger image circle of the Sironar S, I'd suggest that you save some money and look for a good used Nikon W. If money is no concern then get the Sironar S, there might be some difference between it and the Nikon that just hasn't shown up in my photographs. I've never used the Fuji so I can't comment on it.
Another consideration is filter size of the lens, so that you can standardize on one set of filters that will fit your lens collection.
I have used the 135 Nikkor for several years and found it very sharp. My enlargements run mostly in the 11x14-16x20 size, b/w,color, chemical and digital darkroom. I think the image circle published by Nikon is a bit conservative. The lens covers 5x7 with some movement, and 4x5 with decent mpvement. It is small, uses 52mm filters, and as others have suggested is presently a bit of a bargain. Bob Moulton
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